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Friday, April 6, 2012

Determination

My cat, Tinker is a quirky puss. The thing I love most about her is her determination. Whether it's chasing a lizard until she catches it (although I try to get it away from her and give the poor thing its freedom), or doggedly (yes, pun intended) getting on some forbidden piece of furniture. If she wants it, she will keep going after it, no matter what.

She has this red collar that she seems to like better than any other collar she's had. Problem is, about once a week the thing pops open and falls off. She doesn't let that stop her. She carries it to me, lays it at my feet and howls until I put it back on. I don't dare replace it!

That got me thinking about determination and how it's one of the qualities I want my heroes and heroines to possess. Doesn't matter what the obstacles, the hero will relentlessly pursue the heroine. The heroine will fight tooth and nail for what she believes in or to catch the villain who wronged her or someone she loves.

Determination is essential for me to like a character. If he's willing to just lie down and take whatever is dealt to him, I want no part of that character.

What about you? Is there a character trait you refuse to compromise on?

12 comments:

Rita said...

Wow! I bever thought of it that way. But yes, my characters are determined even if they are wrong. Ha!

Wynter Daniels said...

Good point, Rita. I guess mine are wring sometimes, too.

Toni Anderson said...

Wynter--what a great sounding cat :)
I'm all for determination in characters. I think it's a given for most heroes, but it's something I try and instill in my heroines to the nth degree. Sorcha goes down on a sinking fishing vessel and not only saves herself but her injured friend. Susie is being attacked by a mad person in burning building but never stops fighting. Elizabeth overcomes rape and betrayal to fall in love (and get her revenge), and Cameran manages to survive in the wilderness against all the odds. Women are more subtle sometimes in their determination I think, but it doesn't mean it isn't a big part of what makes them what they are.

Wynter Daniels said...

Toni - sounds like your heroines have determination down!

Anne Marie Becker said...

Huh, Wynter, you've got me thinking over my characters this morning. (Always a good thing!)

I think determination is a key ingredient, especially with characters in suspense...they're always facing down danger, LOL...but what other traits do my characters possess? I would have to say hope and compassion - at least by the end of the book. ;) Not sure if those are technically traits, but they're definitely themes in my books.

Elise Warner said...

Wynter: I agree with Tinker's determination and Anne Marie, I too think compassion is all important. Plus that indefinable something that will set the hero, heroine or villain apart.

Marcelle Dubé said...

Good post, Wynter. I think my main characters always have determination, even when it masquerades as stubbornness! For my hero/heroine, one of the most important character traits I want them to have is a sense of honour. They have to do the right thing for the right reason, and if they can't, it costs them.

Wynter Daniels said...

Anne Marie - Hope and compassion are musts as well - thanks for adding to the list!

Elise - there's always that quality you can't quite put your finger on, isn't there? I guess it's heroism!

Marcelle - I tend to give my heroes more of an honorable streak than I do my heroines. Sounds sexist. I'm going to have to check myself;-)

Tonya Burrows said...

I love a strong, determined character. I love writing (and reading!) stubborn characters too, just because it's so much fun when the heroine and heroine lock horns about something and they both refuse to budge.

Sounds like your cat would get along great with my Nabisco. He does something similar with his collar--except he takes his and hides it so I can't put it back on him!

Wynter Daniels said...

Oh no, Tonya! Too Funny. I love his name!

Cathy Perkins said...

I agree with the comments about determination and compassion, but I find my heroes and heroines retain a sense of humor. Sometimes a bit of humor is a needed relief from the awfulness of the situation.

Jean Harrington said...

Yes, characters must have determination to be heroic or even likeable. Authors have to have determination too to get the darn characters to show determination. Or some such! Have a great weekend everybody.

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